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Results after treatment of congenital radioulnar synostosis: a systematic review and pooled data analysis

Sitanshu Barik, Sebastian Farr, Giovanni Gallone, Paola Zarantonello, Giovanni Trisolino, Giovanni L Di Gennaro
Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics. Part B 2020 December 11

OBJECTIVES: Congenital radioulnar synostosis (CRUS) is one of the most common congenital disorders affecting the elbow and forearm, with the forearm being fixed in a range of positions usually varying from neutral rotation to severe pronation. The aim of this study, apart from a systematic review of all surgical procedures described for CRUS, is to derive any correlation between various influencing factors, outcomes and complications.

METHODS: This review was performed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses format by an electronic literature search of Ovid, MEDLINE and the Cochrane Library databases. Grading was according to the Newcastle-Ottawa scale and the Modified Coleman Methodology Score. Demographic data, surgical procedures, outcomes and complications were analyzed. Outcome data were pooled to establish means and ranges across all studies. Spearman correlations were performed.

RESULTS: A total of 23 articles, showing a poor overall study quality (all Level of Evidence IV), met the inclusion criteria. A total of 374 forearms with a mean age of 6.7 years (2.0-18.8) were analyzed. Derotational surgeries were more commonly performed (91%) than motion-preserving surgeries (9%). The mean deformity improved from 64.8° pronation (-75° to 110°) to a mean of 2.8° pronation (-50° to 80°). In total, 17.9% of patients presented with complications. A significant correlation was noted between age and major complications, proximal osteotomies and complications, and postoperative loss of reduction and double level osteotomies as the primary treatment modality. Most of the complications occurred above the threshold of 65-70° of correction and in children 7 years and above.

CONCLUSIONS: Surgery is essential to improve the quality of life of children with CRUS. However, each type of surgery is associated with complications, along with the respective hardware being used in rotation osteotomies. Caution is, nevertheless, warranted in interpreting these results in view of the inherent limitations of the included studies.

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